I was smitten with Jerry. He was tall, so handsome (and I mean SO handsome) and made me feel beautiful. Family oriented and fond of animals, we had a lot in common. And he took me and our relationship seriously.
The only problem was that Jerry was an Orthodox Jew. He observed Shabbat with his family every Friday night, wore yamakas and kept kosher. His family wanted him to date and marry a nice Jewish girl.
Uh, did I mention I’m a non-practicing Catholic Latina?
To resolve this relationship-ruining conflict, Jerry decided to keep our relationship a secret. Neither his parents nor his other family members knew he had a girlfriend or that I even existed. Whenever we were on the phone, he would pretend to chat with someone else, and would make excuses to see me, especially if he ever brought me a gift.
“It’s Benjamin’s birthday, ma! I’m going to his party!” Jerry would say. Although Benjamin was a very real and nice Jewish boy, Jerry was actually taking me out to dinner for our anniversary.
Despite the lies and secrets, we were making it work – until the day we were in his neighborhood on our way to eat sushi.
“And then my boss said I give the best tours in comparison to the whole staff!” I said, recalling my wonderful work day while I watched a bird bathing in a puddle of water. I patiently waited for Jerry’s exuberant and congratulatory response. Silence. I turned to him and he was gone.
I spun around in circles, desperately looking for my boyfriend who had suddenly disappeared. That’s when I noticed him across the street, walking away from me.
“Jerry! Jerry!!” I called out to him. He didn’t turn around. He didn’t even acknowledge me. I stopped dead in my tracks and watched him check his surroundings, as if he were looking for someone. He then headed back my way.
“Sorry, I thought I saw my uncle,” Jerry said as he approached.
I felt so disrespected and undervalued. It just wasn’t fair to me anymore or fun. Yet Jerry didn’t understand why I was so offended.
“I felt invisible!” I exclaimed. “You’re supposed to cherish the person you’re in a relationship with, not hide them!”
In that moment, I decided to walk away from him, just like he had done to me. And I left him spinning in circles.